Abbas planed meeting with ICC prosecutor charging Israel with war-crimes and alleged examples of ‘ethnic cleansing’ according to Palestinian officials.
A Palestinian delegation led by president Mahmud Abbas met Friday with the International Criminal Court to hand over a file documenting alleged Israeli crimes such as “ethnic cleansing,” Palestinian officials said.
Abbas arrived late Friday at the court for talks with prosecutor Fatou Bensouda accompanied by Palestinian foreign minister Riad al-Malki, an AFP correspondent said.
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The talks at the world’s only permanent war crimes court come amid an increase of Israeli-Palestinian violence and marked Abbas’s first meeting with Bensouda since the Palestinian Authority sparked controversy by joining the tribunal in January.
In recent weeks, Israel and the Palestinians have been gripped by a wave of violence that has left more than 60 Palestinians and nine Israelis died.
The almost daily clashes and knife attacks have sparked fears they may herald the start of a third Palestinian uprising, or intifada.
Top Palestinian official Saeb Erakat said a 52-page dossier was to be handed over to court officials Friday.
It includes details of alleged “summary executions, collective punishments, house demolitions and ethnic cleansing,” Erakat said in a statement.
The dossier “gathers all the information on the Palestinian martyrs and their identities, the way in which they were executed, and is backed by verified photos and videos.”
To Israel’s fury, the Palestinians have already formally asked the ICC to investigate it for alleged war crimes during the 2014 Gaza war.
Some 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in the 50-day war in July and August 2014, as well as some 73 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
Bensouda has officially opened a preliminary inquiry to see whether there is sufficient evidence of crimes by either the Palestinians or the Israelis which would merit formal investigation.
To support its case, Malki handed over two files to the ICC in June. One dealt with alleged Israeli crimes committed in Gaza.
The other file delved into Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Abbas has also since called on Bensouda to probe the August firebombing of a Palestinian home blamed on Jewish extremists, in which a toddler and his father died.
“Achieving justice is essential for the Palestinian victims, dead and alive,” said Malki in June.
“Palestine has chosen to seek justice, not vengeance, this is why we are here today.”
Malki was to address the press after Friday’s talks, a Palestinian official told AFP.
Israel, which has not signed up to the ICC, has vehemently opposed the Palestinian attempt to trigger a full investigation for war crimes.
The move also angered Israel’s ally the United States which denounced it as “counterproductive”.
The ICC was set up in 2002 to investigate and try those responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, where national authorities cannot or will not prosecute.
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